DHEC Announces Additional Case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in South Carolina
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 13, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating one additional case of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.
Preliminary information for new case
- The one new case is a female from Camden who had contact with a known case. She was evaluated at a healthcare facility and is currently isolated at home. DHEC received her positive result from a private lab.
Number of COVID-19 cases to date
- 13 positive cases
- DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory has conducted 123 tests: 13 positive and 110 negative
- DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory has received enough supplies from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to test 2,000 samples. We have the routine capacity to test 80-100 specimens per day with the ability to double or triple that number as needed, however, testing should be reserved for those that meet the clinical criteria for testing. Testing individuals without symptoms is not recommended.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved some private labs in South Carolina to also conduct CDC-approved testing for COVID-19. These labs are required to report positive cases of the virus to DHEC. Reporting of positive results will be delayed from that of tests performed by DHEC. DHEC will continue to update the public as positive cases are either conducted by the state’s Public Health Laboratory or as the cases are reported to DHEC by private labs.
“Although we are not currently seeing widespread transmission in South Carolina, we expect to see more cases and we will continue to monitor CDC guidance and recommendations,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “As part of this effort, we are preparing for transition from containment to mitigation.
In order to take precautions for members of South Carolina’s vulnerable populations, DHEC is immediately restricting visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, with the exception of end-of-life situations.
“We encourage the public to maintain their daily routines of protecting against illness by practicing good hygiene, washing your hands, and covering your cough,” Bell said. “Individuals with signs of illness are asked to take seriously the recommendation to stay home from school and work and not attend public gatherings.”
Residents who are showing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath should call their personal doctor or healthcare provider. If an individual doesn’t have a primary care physician, MUSC Health is providing free telehealth screening to all South Carolinians. Anyone experiencing symptoms can visit MUSC.care and use the promo code COVID19 and be screened without having to leave your home. Additional telehealth services from other healthcare systems will be made available on the DHEC website.
“Our top priorities remain preventing the spread of the disease and protecting the public health,” Bell said. “This includes working to control spread and measures that best protect all individuals.”
For more information about COVID-19, visit the DHEC website at scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here.